Study shows biomarker panel boosts lung cancer risk assessment for smokers
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IMAGE: Sam Hanash, M.D., Ph.D. view more 

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Credit: MD Anderson Cancer Center

A four-protein biomarker blood test improves lung cancer risk assessment over existing guidelines that rely solely upon smoking history, capturing risk for people who have ever smoked, not only for heavy smokers, an international research team reports in JAMA Oncology.

“This simple blood test demonstrates the potential of biomarker-based risk assessment to improve eligibility criteria for lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography,” said study co-senior author Sam Hanash, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Clinical Cancer Prevention at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The biomarker panel achieved superior sensitivity – identification of smokers who later developed lung cancer – without increasing false-positives compared to guidelines for screening approved by the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) for heavy smokers based on age and smoking history.

USPSTF guidelines call for CT screening only of adults between ages 55 and 80 with a 30 pack-year smoking history who either smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

“The biomarker panel more accurately identifies at-risk smokers who should proceed to screening, even if they’re not at the highest risk based on smoking history alone,” Hanash said. “A positive blood test means an ever-smoker is

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